I don’t currently own a tablet. I can see some personal use cases for one now, a bit of a change from when they first started to appear but even then they’re pretty marginal.

Sadly it seems that there aren’t currently tablets available with a feature I’d like: HDMI input.

Searching for such things inevitably results in a swathe of people with reading comprehension issues. HDMI input does not simply mean “can be plugged into a HDMI cable”. Yes, there’s a cable involved but that’s not what “input” refers to. It’s all about the flow of data. Phrasing it that way sounds very neck-beardy and grumpy, I know, but it’s actually a really simple concept.

There’s a screen and there’s the thing with video content on it. A source pours video content onto a screen. VHS players plug into a TV so that the stuff on the tapes can be watched. Have fun trying to watch a tape without a screen.

A tablet has a screen – are there any tablets that accept video being fed into them?

At the moment I’ve got a nice shiny camera and getting the video from it whilst using it is easy – plug in a mini HDMI cable. Unfortunately I don’t have a portable HDMI display. Sure, they’re only about £150 or so but that’s a single use device. What else do I have that would find that even remotely useful?

Instead it’d be great to be able to wire up a tablet when I need it. Perhaps this is simply too obscure for most things but some rumblings seem to suggest that some of the Asus Transformer tablets can be used this way.

Unfortunately I can’t find any documentation to support this whatsoever. This isn’t exactly helped by the fact that a phone call to Asus UK head office got me a young man who seemed quite sure that HDMI-in is possible.

The manual for the Asus T100 has the following to say:

Micro HDMI Port

This port is for a micro-HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) connector and is HDCP compliant for HD DVD, Blu-Ray, and other protected content playback

[page 18]

That’s all. HDMI isn’t mentioned anywhere in the rest of the document. HDCP suggests it can be used as a monitor. Suggests – it doesn’t stipulate.

Great.

At this rate I’m just going to have to wander around Currys with a camera and a few HDMI cables!

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